CYIL vol. 12 (2021)
CYIL 12 (2021) THE MECHANISM OF THE PROTECTION OF RACIAL, NATIONAL, AND RELIGIOUS… might endanger territorial integrity of the states concerned and might form potentially hostile entities within those states. 56 On 10 June 1926, the Council of the League of Nations approved the report of the Secretary General regarding the procedure of dealing with “private” minorities petitions. The report described in detail the procedure from the receipt of a petition, consideration of its admissibility under the respective criteria, to its reference to the Committee of Three, and/or the Council. 57 On 6 and 9 June 1928, the Council of the League of Nations was resolving a significant case based on the petition of 21 peasants of Ukrainian nationality against Lithuania (submitted in November 1927) and against their land reform. 58 Lithuania proposed that the petition should be rejected because the “Ukrainian” minority was not officially recognized there and failed to fulfil criteria for a linguistic, religious, or racial minority under the minorities treaties. In addition, the applicants tried in the past to enforce their demands as members of “Russian minority”; the issue of their state citizenship was also contentious. However, the Council came to conclusion that this was an issue of general significance and therefore dealt with it. The Council considered the petition as admissible in reference to the Resolution of the Assembly initiated by Professor Murray also. The case was not supposed to be referred to a usual Committee of Three, but, after an intensive discussion, a special law committee was formed which was expected to deal with the case; members of the committee were appointed by the members of the Council. In September 1928, the law committee decided that such petitions are acceptable under certain circumstances and could be considered within the League of Nations. On 8 September 1928, the Council took the report into account, and it became obvious that a path to wider consideration of minorities questions by the Council of the League of Nations was opened. Since the whole system of consideration of petitions was criticized for a long time as too benevolent regarding the states and too strict with respect to applicants, a further modification was introduced on 13 June 1929 by means of the Resolution of the Council of the League of Nations. 59 The report and proposal of the Resolution was drafted by Japanese envoy for minorities issues M. Adachi; however, the British diplomatic mission and its members assisted M. Adachi in formulating the text and had a significant influence on its final wording. 60 The regulation of the procedure had already been proposed in September 1928 by Canadian diplomats having consulted the issue with the Foreign Office and submitted it in the form of a memorandum to the Assembly of the League of Nations. 61 The minorities question moved to the centre of attention of the League of Nations regarding German-Polish relations. This was seen in debates of the Council on 15 December 1928, when the critical German view was presented by G. Stresemann. 62 The German Foreign Minister requested that the whole minorities question was discussed in general by the Council including the procedure and problems of the protection of minorities rights. This was supported by A. Briand, President
56 Ibid, pp. 44–45. 57 Ibid, pp. 68–69. 58 Ibid, Part II., pp. 70–78. 59 Ibid, Part I., p. 11. 60 https://biblio-archive.unog.ch/C-266-1937-I_EN. 61 https://biblio-archive.unog.ch/C-51-(1)-M-36-(1)-1929-I_FR.
62 Protection of linguistic, racial or religious minorities by the League of Nations. Resolutions and Extracts from the Minutes of the Council, Resolutions and Reports adopted by the Assembly relating to the Procedure to be followed in Questions concerning the Protection of Minorities, ibid., Part II., pp. 82–83.
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